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Unions’ court challenge could win key victory for GP pensions

GPs could see their retirement incomes significantly increased if the High Court rules against changes to the way that pension payouts are calculated in a landmark legal case.

Britain’s biggest public sector unions are today challenging the use of the consumer price index (CPI) instead of the traditionally higher retail price index (RPI) as the basis for calculating the annual increase in public sector pensions.

It opens a new front the ongoing row with the Government over pensions reform. On 30 November  the BMA will be encouraging GPs to support a public sector strike on the issue, though doctors will not be taking industrial action themselves.

Health unions Unison and Unite, along with the Fire Brigades’ Union, teachers’ union NASUWT, Prison Officers’ Association, and civil service representatives PCS say they are launching their legal challenge over what they describe as the ‘biggest robbery of a pension scheme this country has ever seen’.

The six unions are taking High Court action to argue that a switch in the way increases to pensions are calculated are ‘unfair’ to millions of public sector workers.

A BMA spokesman said: ‘We will be watching this case very carefully as it clearly would have very significant impacts on the pensions of our members.’

He said that the pensions calculator on the BMA website showed what a difference using CPI rather than RPI made to the pensions of GPs